Demon Eye, Tempora Infernalia: In the Fire and of It

Posted in Reviews on August 11th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

demon eye tempora infernalia

From Raleigh, North Carolina, the dual-guitar foursome Demon Eye rode out of the gate strong on the songwriting of their first full-length, 2014’s Leave the Light (review here), a straightforward but still atmospherically-minded collection of cultish-themes and prime riffs that was likewise unpretentious and preaching to the genre-converted. The inevitable sophomore outing, also released on Soulseller Records, is Tempora Infernalia, which follows suit from its predecessor in its thematic — though one could argue the cult vibes are less direct here — and overall sonic foundation. There are shades of Pentagram-style doom with Uncle Acid‘s newer-modus swing, though it irons out to an able execution of doom rock either way, and Tempora Infernalia is at very least that.

Its 40 minutes/10 tracks are efficiently constructed and come out clean even as they seem to revel in dirt, guitarists Erik Sugg (also vocals) and Larry Burlison (lead), bassist/vocalist Paul Walz and drummer/vocalist Bill Eagen resounding in their cohesion as the record plays out, Sugg and Burlison leading the charge from opener “End of Days” onward, a ’70s boogie meeting early in uptempo pulse with doomly roll, the vocals furthering the retro vibe that’s balanced throughout with modernity of production. And that’s pretty much the story. Demon Eye are obviously capable songwriters, as they proved their first time out, and they have a clear idea of what they want to do with their sound, which they demonstrate plainly on these tracks in a manner that leaves very little room for argument.

And accordingly, I won’t argue against it. What I will say is that Tempora Infernalia feels like it was released a year after their debut, which of course it is. The actual timeline on when songs were written for both doesn’t really matter, what I’m talking about is more the level of progression between the two albums. Demon Eye started out knowing what they wanted to do, and with Tempora Infernalia, they’re doing it a second time. Cuts like “Listen to the Darkness” and side B’s shuffling “In the World, Not of It” are more than capable executions — the latter especially is a highlight that shifts the tempo slightly from the classic metallurgy of “Poison Garden” before it — but aren’t much more assured of their position than were “Edge of a Knife” or “Fires of Abalam” on the debut.

demon eye

The kicker there is the debut was already plenty assured, but for a band who hit the ground running in paying off the potential shown on their initial 2013 EP (all six songs from which were reused on the first album), one almost went into Tempora Infernalia expecting leaps and bounds from where they were a year ago, whereas the band’s project seems to be more centered around building a catalog of steady growth from one release to the next. Not an issue with the songs here — they even change things up in their approach with the “Solitude”-style penultimate placement of “Please, Father” before closer “Sons of Man” delivers the album’s nastiest hook — so much as with the context through which one enters into hearing them, but as someone who was impressed by the first record, the second stands behind it and affirms its motion rather than blowing it out of the water with the progression from one to the next.

That’s not to say Demon Eye haven’t grown at all in the last year. Leave the Light garnered fervent praise from underground circles, and the band accordingly took on the ’70s ethic of a quick follow-up. Fair enough. The vaguer threat of “I’ll be Creeping” and the speedy swing of “Black Winds” show a broader range for Tempora Infernalia and a willingness to try different ideas across a full-length span, while “See the Signs” reaffirms the craftsmanship that’s been the root of their appeal all along. Across the board, performances are air-tight, Sugg emerging as a frontman presence while not overplaying his hand in that regard, and the production and mixing of Alex Maiolo at Seriously Adequate Studio in NC are crisp in a way that adds to the momentum built as the record plays out.

A less-directly Satanic theme feels like a purposeful drive away from what they were doing on Leave the Light, and on repeat listens its blend of elder metal and newer heavy comes across as even more engaging, so while Demon Eye haven’t reinvented their or anyone else’s wheel with Tempora Infernalia, neither did they need to. Instead, they’ve set themselves on a steady path that mirrors the linear feel of their songwriting to produce a catalog of growth over a longer-term and more records. Whatever their method, all Tempora Infernalia really makes one do after listening to it is hope they keep working, however quickly they might or might not do so from here.

Demon Eye, “I’ll be Creeping”

Demon Eye on Thee Facebooks

Demon Eye on Bandcamp

Soulseller Records

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Lewis and the Strange Magics Post New Video for “Female Vampire”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 31st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

lewis and the strange magics

Barcelona trio Lewis and the Strange Magics will release their debut album, Velvet Skin, Aug. 21 through Soulseller Records. The full-length follows last year’s impressive Demo (review here), which was among my favorite short releases of 2014 and tapped into that Beatlesian Sabbathery while managing to at the same time remain distinct from Uncle Acid, who one could reasonably argue are the foremost practitioners of the form. All three tracks from the demo will appear on the upcoming record, but the new song “Female Vampire” is the first I’m hearing from Velvet Skin and it proves even more individualized than the prior offering, the three-piece dug in deep to a circa-1967 vision of lysergics that, in the clip, meets with circa-1975 horror, the song taking its name from the title of a film released that year.

Performance clips manipulated with psychedelic visuals and copious NSFW ’70s boobage ensues, mining the ultimately familiar terrain of vintage exploitation and sexualized violence. The song itself has a complementary sense of camp to it, the vocals putting on a Dracula voice — think, “I vant to suck your blood,” — to deliver the title line in the chorus. It suits Lewis and the Strange Magics well to take the whole endeavor not quite so seriously as most of their cult-minded peers, who seem hell-bent on making listeners think they spend their nights at blood-soaked rituals and whatever else, and the reason it doesn’t fall into parody is because the songwriting stands up. As will happen, Baphomet shows up by the end, but they rightly conclude with a plug for the new album, which is one I’ll hope to get the chance to check out.

Video below, followed by PR wire info on Velvet Skin. Enjoy:

Lewis and the Strange Magics, “Female Vampire” official video (NSFW)

On August 21st the debut album “Velvet Skin” by Lewis & the strange magics will be released via Soulseller Records on Cd/Lp(lim.300) and Digital!

LEWIS AND THE STRANGE MAGICS was born in Barcelona, Spain, during the summer of 2014. Shortly after they released their debut demo which received great reception from audience and critics. Only a month later the band signed with Soulseller Records to release the debut LP, “Velvet Skin”, during 2015.

The album talks about human perversion, which is developed from dark ambients with 60s and 70s sounds. It was recorded and mixed by Filippo Medda at Algusano Records Studio (Mataró, Spain), mastered by Pete Weiss at Verdant Studio (Athens Vermont, USA), and the artwork was designed by Jo Riou (Paris, France). The band’s musical influences go from Black Sabbath to The Beatles, mixing heavy riffs with pop melodies, all wrapped up in a psychedelic and dark atmosphere, inspired by cult movies and occultism.

Track list:
1. Carbon Wine
2. How To Be You
3. Suzy’s Room
4. Golden Threads
5. Nina (Velvet Skin)
6. Female Vampire
7. Cloudy Grey Cube
8. Your Evil Trip

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Thee Facebooks

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Bandcamp

Soulseller Records

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Mist to Release New EP Inan’ on May 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

mist (photo by Lara Zitko)

Slovenian doom five-piece Mist will issue their new EP, the apostrophe-inclusive Inan’, on May 8 through Soulseller Records. Technically speaking, it’s their debut EP as well, though their Demo 2013 (review here) made enough of an impression that it was hard to think of it as the work of a band getting their bearings. Still, Inan’ will be four tracks and finds the Ljubljana outfit past the demo stage and onto more realized terrain. I wouldn’t be surprised if a first full-length followed soon behind.

Particularly notable is the fact that neither of the two tracks from Demo 2013 is reused for Inan’. I can’t help but wonder if there’s some aesthetic shift at play as well, and perhaps that’s what the incense and skull-holding in the photo above as well is hinting toward. We’ll find out in the Spring where Mist are headed sound-wise, and until then, here’s the info on Inan’ and the artwork for the EP, crafted by drummer Mihaela Žitko, courtesy of the PR wire:

mist inan

MIST: New EP details revealed

Slovenian Doom Metal band MIST will release a new EP (cd/lim.12″/digital) on May 8th though Soulseller Records. The 4-tracker entitled »Inan’« will include 3 new songs and one from the »Demo 2013«, recorded anew with the influence of the band’s current lead guitarist, Blaž Tanšek.

MIST formed in July 2012, originally as an all-female band, and build their music on the legacy of legendary bands like Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Candlemass, Coven, Saint Vitus and others.

»Inan’« was recorded in the fall of 2014, produced, mixed and mastered by Benjamin Kic from BK Mastering. The brilliant cover art was created by drummer Mihaela Žitko.

Tracklist:
1. Inan’
2. Frozen Velvet
3. Phobia
4. Under The Night Sky

Line-up:
Nina Spruk – lead vocals
Ema Babošek – rhythm guitar & backing vocals
Blaž Tanšek – lead guitar
Neža Pe?an – bass
Mihaela Žitko – drums

https://www.facebook.com/mist.doom
http://mistdoom.bandcamp.com/
http://mistdoom.tumblr.com/

Mist, Demo 2013

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Demon Eye to Release Tempora Infernalia May 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

demon eye

North Carolinian cult-themed heavy four-piece Demon Eye are gearing up to release their second album, Tempora Infernalia, May 8 on Soulseller Records. The new record follows pretty quickly on the heels of early-2014’s debut, Leave the Light (review here), which was well received for its classic influences and catchy songwriting, cuts like “Fires of Abalam” and “From Beyond” immediately resonant in their riff-led hooks. As much of Leave the Light garnered its material from Demon Eye‘s prior demo/EP, 2013’s Shades of Black, this will mark their first long-player comprised of completely new songs. The debut wanted nothing for flow between its tracks, but it should be interesting to hear what Demon Eye have come up with this time around as they offer a bit of darkness to go with springtime.

Album info follows, as posted on their Thee Facebooks. Thanks to Kathleen Johnson for the tip:

demon eye tempora infernalia

DEMON EYE – New album details revealed!

Dark and groovy, loud and heavy – DEMON EYE are back! North Carolina’s occult hard rockers will release their new full-length entitled “Tempora Infernalia” on May 8th through Soulseller Records. The album was recorded and mixed by Alex Maiolo at Seriously Adequate Studio in Carrboro, NC and mastered by Pete Weiss at Verdant Studio in Southern Vermont.

The band’s sophomore release after last year’s highly acclaimed debut, “Leave the Light”, is a blast of wicked riffery and skilled songcraft that conjures apocalyptic visions of a world on the brink of destruction. The end is near, and we welcome its arrival!

Cover artwork (created by John Hitselberger, Raleigh NC)

Tracklist:
1. End Of Days
2. Listen To The Darkness
3. I’ll Be Creeping
4. See The Signs
5. Poison Garden
6. In The World, Not Of It
7. Black Winds
8. Give Up The Ghost
9. Please, Father
10. Sons Of Man

Line-Up:
Erik Sugg – Vocals, Guitars
Larry Burlison – Guitars
Paul Walz,- Bass
Bill Eagen – Drums, Vocals

https://twitter.com/DemonEyeNC
https://www.facebook.com/demoneyenc
http://demoneye.bandcamp.com/
http://www.soulsellerrecords.com/

Demon Eye, Leave the Light (2014)

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Spectral Haze Stream I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on October 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

SpectralHaze_band

On Nov. 7, Oslo heavy psych rockers Spectral Haze will release their debut full-length, I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains through Soulseller Records. It’s the follow-up to a 2012 self-titled EP and their first outing to feature Thereminist/noisemaker Electric Starling, a six-track, two-sided collection of tripped out compositions, consuming in their psychedelic wash but with enough movement in the low end to keep from getting completely out of control, except, you know when that’s where they want to go.

The Norwegian fivesome of Electric Starling, guitarist/vocalist Spacewülff, guitarist Sönik Slöth, bassist Döômdögg (or at least I think that’s bass; he’s credited with “Dronemachinated AUM”) and drummer Cëlestïal Cöbra got their spectral haze iev transmutated nebula remains-1400start in 2011, and their sound is geared for maximum swirl. On I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains, they trip out almost immediately, the three cuts on side A becoming an amorphous, molten flow that continues through the end of the 11-minute “Black Gandharvas,” and onto the relatively brief side B intro, “I.E.V. II: Observing the Centre of Infinity.” One gets flashes of Nebula at their most blissed, but the push behind the subsequent “Descent through the Intravoidal” is pure space rock, and Spectral Haze maximize that vibe with a steady undercurrent of synth and effects.

I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains culminates with the 13:45 “Triads and Trishulas,” an expansive, multi-layered jam that, if you weren’t yet lost in the album, is bound to drag your consciousness away with it into some grandiose cosmic void. Like the record as a whole, it’s a satisfying journey of well executed, full-sounding space and heavy psychedelia, layers intertwining as the jam progresses through multiple stages en route to the lysergic payoff of both itself and the five songs preceding, a crash-laden groove marking “Triads and Trishulas” as a suitable finale for the vastness before it.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting the full album for streaming. Set the controls for the heart of the fuzz, and enjoy:

[THIS STREAM HAS EXPIRED. THANKS FOR LISTENING.]

Spectral Haze‘s I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains is due out Nov. 7 via Soulseller Records on CD/LP/DL. More info at the links.

Spectral Haze on Thee Facebooks

Soulseller Records

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Spectral Haze to Release I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains in November

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

spectral haze

Not to be confused with Virginian Cough-offshoot Sinister Haze, Oslo cosmic rockers Spectral Haze are gearing up to release their first album, the quizzically titled I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains next month in the UK and Europe via Soulseller Records. The four-or-five-piece made their debut in 2012 with a self-titled demo that was as spacious as it was threatening, warping stoner riffage into overdrive and coming across like a more rock-minded version of cult doom, just with rituals obscure enough to look an awful lot like drunken getdowns. Needless to say, expectations are high for the record.

The album — and no, I have no idea what the “I.E.V.” portion of the title means; the acronym has many definitions, including “Initial Entry Vehicle” — was recorded earlier this year in the band’s native Norway, and they embarked on a tour this past Spring in Portugal and Spain after finishing putting the basic tracks to tape. Over the summer, they opened for Pentagram and Pet the Preacher in their hometown, and later this month they’ll do likewise for Earthless at a show slated for Oct. 27 at Blå, once again in Oslo.

News and album art follow, reasonably fresh from the clutches of the PR wire. Get spaced:

spectral haze iev transmutated nebula remains

SPECTRAL HAZE NEW RELEASE DATE

Spectral Haze was first conjured from the Void three years ago, through four sonick sorcerers residing in Oslo, Norway; Cëlestial Cöbra (Battery), Döömdogg (Bass guitar), Spacewülff (Vocals, guitars) and Sönik Slöth (Guitars). Through these last few years, Spectral Haze has undulated and grown into channeling through a fifth vessel, namely Electric Starling (Theremin, VOID). The upcoming album “I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains” follows their eponymous debut EP released in 2012 CE, and brings even more psyched out doom rock rituals.

November 7th (Europe) + November 10th (UK).

http://spectralhaze.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SpectralHaze
www.soulsellerrecords.com

Spectral Haze, Spectral Haze Demo (2012)

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Mist to Release New EP on Soulseller Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

They’ve gone from a five-piece to a four-piece since the successful release of their Demo 2013 (review here), and it will be interesting as Slovenian doomers Mist make their debut on Soulseller Records to hear if that has an effect on their sound. The demo was cohesive sonically if also somewhat barebones in its style, but the band has continued to grow their reputation, touring Europe earlier this year and appearing at fests including the upcoming Hammer of Doom 9 in Germany and the Malta Doom Metal Festival. The theme, as you can probably tell, is doom.

Recording for Mist‘s new EP reportedly began at the start of the month. Title, tracks, release date, cover art and other info to come, but here’s the PR wire announcement that it’ll be released on Soulseller:

mist (Photo by Vid Pobegajlo)

MIST SIGN WITH SOULSELLER RECORDS, EP COMING THIS FALL

Demons and witches gather!

Ljubljana, Slovenia’s all female doom metal group, MIST, have signed with Soulseller Records. The ambitious young band released their first demo recording simply titled “Demo 2013” in November last year. The demo has been re-issued on CD three times due to great interest.

“The past few months we have been working on an EP, which is to be released this winter, so we are really excited to have been offered a deal from Dutch label Soulseller records. We are looking forward to start a new chapter on our musical path and taking everything to the next level” the band states. The 4 tracker is scheduled to be released this winter on cd,vinyl and digital.

Formed in July 2012, MIST name legendary bands such as Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Candlemass, Coven, Saint Vitus and others as their key influences. They have already received positive reviews, radio airplay and had the chance to support bands such as Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Helstar, Officium Triste, Ophis and Cauchemar.

The band have already toured Austria, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and will hit the road again in Autumn, including performances at Malta Doom Metal Festival and the renowned Hammer Of Doom Festival in Würzburg, Germany.

“Demo 2013” is still available as a name-your-price download on their Bandcamp page here http://mistdoom.bandcamp.com/album/demo-2013

https://www.facebook.com/mist.doom
http://mistdoom.bandcamp.com/
http://mistdoom.tumblr.com/
http://www.soulsellerrecords.com

Mist, Demo 2013

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Should’ve Been Sooner: Demon Eye, Leave the Light

Posted in Reviews on August 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

“Better late than never,” or so the adage goes. If you’ve ever read more than two sentences on this site, chances are you’ve witnessed me complaining about being perpetually short on time, unable to fit in everything that I want to, etc. That’s been the case for at least the last four years. I’m always working at a deficit, and it’s usually just a question of whether or not I’m able to live with the level of behind that I am. In the case of Demon Eye‘s Leave the Light, I simply can’t take it anymore.

Released back in January on Soulseller Records, the debut long-player from the Raleigh, North Carolina, witch-rocking four-piece has haunted me — daily — as it has sat on the stack waiting to be reviewed, its righteously devilized jewel case cover burned into my consciousness no less than the cowbell-stomped chorus of “Adversary,” just one of the album’s 11 memorable exaltations of the left hand path. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Erik Sugg, lead guitarist Larry Burlison, bassist/vocalist Paul Walz and drummer/vocalist Bill Eagen, Demon Eye owe much to early Pentagram‘s vaguely Luciferian swing and Sugg‘s touches of Eric Wagner influence go far in “Edge of the Knife” and the brooding “Fires of Abalam,” but they’re distinguished by proto-thrash riffing and ultimately wind up with an energetic, somewhat mystical concoction not entirely dissimilar in concept from Texas’ Venomous Maximus, though the
execution of Leave the Light works with its own blend.

To wit, opener “Hecate”‘s resonant hook and tradeoff of chugging and winding riffs and slower Motörhead spellcasting sets the stage for varied invocations of classic metal, but nowhere on Leave the Light do Demon Eye lose their heavy rock tonality or vibe. “Shades of Black” owes more to Thin Lizzy than Slayer, and the subsequent “Secret Sect” has a natural enough sound to namecheck Kadavar or Graveyard in terms of its ’70s loyalism. Side B branches out but remains catchy, with the shorter “Witch’s Blood” (2:47) setting up a moodier run with “Fires of Abalam” referencing Pentagram‘s “When the Screams Come” and delivering the band’s eponymous line while pulling back on the thrust to make “Devil Knows the Truth” sound even more motion-based, dueling leads just past the halfway point making it all the more a standout en route to “The Banishing,” which turns around the lyrical perspective to give Lucifer himself a chance to speak (anyone remember when Type O Negative did that for Black Sabbath‘s “Black Sabbath?”) and, before its 4:35 are done, earns a bit of sympathy for the devil to go with the classic heavy rock swagger, like Scorpions when they knew what was up.

demon eye leave the lightThe single-mindedness of a 46-minute full-length where just about every song is in one way or another about hellishness and ghouls and Satan and whatnot becomes a factor by the time Demon Eye get down to the closing duo of “From Beyond” and “Silent One” — both choice riffs, the latter locking into a groove every bit worthy to end the record — but what ultimately saves Leave the Light from monotony are the sonic shifts between the songs and the flow that the CD enacts as it plays out. It’s worth noting that, as their first outing, Leave the Light is remarkably consistent in the quality of its songcraft, and as six of these cuts — “Hecate,” “Witch’s Blood,” “Shades of Black,” “Fires of Abalam,” “Devil Knows the Truth” and “Silent One,” in that order — also appeared as Demon Eye‘s 2013 self-released debut EP, Shades of Black (a tape also came out through Sarlacc Productions), the band obviously knows a good thing when they hear it. Reusing one or two tracks from a first EP to first LP isn’t uncommon, but to incorporate all of them — and more importantly, to be right in doing so — shows a confidence in their approach that serves the band well as the other songs work their way between.

It really has been months that Leave the Light has worn on my mind, and though I feel a bit like writing this review is an exorcism, the songwriting here and the cohesiveness of Demon Eye in what’s still their early going (they got together in 2012) stand as testament to the fact that this won’t be the last time we hear from them. Next time around, I’ll be ready.

Demon Eye, Leave the Light (2014)

Demon Eye on Thee Facebooks

Demon Eye on Bandcamp

Soulseller Records

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